Aphra Behn's short novel Oroonoko (1688) is, on its surface, a tragic romance. The novel recounts the story of a magnanimous African prince and his beloved, Imoinda. The lovers are betrayed, separated, sold into slavery, and reunited in the South American colony of Surinam, only to be crushed by the inhuman conditions of the slave trade. But within this transcontinental melodrama we also find a complex and nuanced analysis of colonial politics. Specifically, the novel exposes the brutal and violent conditions that characterize the whole colonial enterprise. Over the course of her work, Behn suggests that due to their ignoble and inhuman methods, European governments are effectively unable to establish legitimate authority in colonial environments. Thus, Behn's Oroonoko functions as a corrective for the naive and overly simplistic accounts of colonial politics we find in the works of other seventeenth-century political theorists like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.